b. 1985, Spain

Javier Martin Biography

Known internationally for his neon light-infused portraits and installations, Spanish artist Javier Martin pairs materials in visual metaphors designed to spark reflection on contemporary themes.

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Early Years

Born in Ceuta, Spain, Martin developed early artistic aspirations, painting in oil by the age of eight. His childhood work featured in contests and special shows, including at the Museo del Revellín in Ceuta.

Growing up in Marbella, Martin received no formal artistic training. Instead, the artist draws upon experiences gained with various materials and tools while living and working in countries across Europe, Asia, and the United States. His debut show as a professional artist was held in the M50 Art District in Shanghai.

Javier Martin Artworks

Experimenting in painting, collage, installation, sculpture, and performance, Javier Martin's art explores themes of self-perception, consumption, technology, and contemporary social values.

Blindness

Martin's 'Blindness' series (2007—ongoing) is a definitive body of work in the artist's oeuvre that he has explored and expanded upon for more than a decade. In these works, the artist overlays black-and-white images of fashion models with neon tubing, and occasionally strokes of paint, always concealing their eyes. The symbolic blinding of the models, who represent aspirational standards of beauty in contemporary society, serves to highlight for the viewer what the artist refers to as 'the social blindness caused by consumption and technology.'

Over the past decade, Martin has continued to build on and refine his interpretation of blindness through large-scale collages of prints, paint, and neon lights, as well as interactive installations and performances.

Lies and Light

Martin's first performance work, Lies and Light (2016), involved the destruction of the material component that defines his 'Blindness' series. In the work, Martin walks through a path of white neon light tubes fanned out on the floor, smashing through each light as he proceeds and kneeling in the broken glass as he moves forward.

This journey of literal destruction of physical barriers reflects one's personal spiritual journey through life and the overcoming of one's past, as well as the universal struggle against conformity towards truth and freedom. Martin first performed the piece during Art Basel Hong Kong in 2016, and again in the following year at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville.

Installation and Sculpture

Martin translates ideas from his performance works and the 'Blindness' series into a more tangible experience for the viewer in his sculptures and installations. Blindness Alma / A Room Without Walls, an installation first conceived in 2017, is comprised of a small, mirrored room with an image of a neon-blindfolded woman suspended in a further mirror.

Developed with the contemporary dominance of social media in mind, the installation invites participants to view themselves behind the neon blindfold, challenging them to question their own blindness to this new mode of consumption.

Martin has also employed other visual metaphors in his sculpture, including a clothed wooden figure of a beggar with hand outstretched and a mirror for a face in Social Reflection, and a wooden chair that appears to melt to the ground in Climatic Change of Design (both 2017), which references the consequences of human impacts on nature.

Public Commissions

Martin has presented a number of his works in formats for public spaces. In 2018, he created a mural based on his 'Blindness' series for the 71st Cannes Film Festival. For the 2020 TEFAF Art Festival, Martin presented his Blindness Alma / A Room Without Walls installation at the Migratory Bird Park at Taehwa River National Garden in Ulsan, South Korea.

Exhibitions

Javier Martin has been the subject of both solo exhibition and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Blindness, Koo House Museum, Yangpyeong (2020); Borderless Artist, Seoul Museum (2019); Infinite Light, Maki Gallery, Tokyo (2019); War, Consumption, and Other Human Hobbies, Valli Art Gallery, Miami (2015); "Eyes on me, please!", Houses of Art Gallery, Marbella (2014).

Group exhibitions include Iconic, Seoul Museum (2021); Plan B, David Zwirner, New York (2019); Dear My Wedding Dress, Seoul Museum, Seoul (2018); New Ways of Seeing, Liang Yi Museum, Hong Kong (2017); Art Meets Fashion, City Bush Terminal, New York (2013); Collective Quum Artist (Digital Printing), Pedro Peña Art Gallery, Marbella (2007); Henry Studio Collective, Revellín Museum, Ceuta (1994).

Website and Instagram

Javier Martin's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Javier Martin Featured Artworks

Blindness Infinite Light by Javier Martin contemporary artwork mixed media
Javier Martin Blindness Infinite Light, 2019 Collage, acrylic, oil colour and neon light on wood
200 x 200 x 5 cm
MAKI Contact Gallery
BLINDNESS YUAN III by Javier Martin contemporary artwork mixed media
Javier Martin BLINDNESS YUAN III, 2014 Digital stamp and mixed media on arches paper
133 x 97 x 4 cm
MAKI Contact Gallery
Cut simply by Javier Martin contemporary artwork mixed media
Javier Martin Cut simply, 2014 Cut photo paper on plexiglass
120 x 93 x 4 cm
MAKI Contact Gallery

Javier Martin Recent Exhibitions

Javier Martin Represented By

MAKI contemporary art gallery in Omotesando, Tokyo, Japan MAKI Tokyo
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